Lincoln Center to Present a Retrospective of Chilean Filmmaker Raúl Ruiz


The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announces a special ongoing retrospective of the Chilean director Raúl Ruiz, featuring landmark films, rarities, and selections from Ruiz's ideal cinematheque. 'Life Is a Dream: The Films of Raúl Ruiz (Part I)' will take place December 2-22 in New York City, with Ruiz's frequent collaborator and wife Valeria Sarmiento in person.

In a year that marks the director's 75th birthday, the Film Society will present the first part of an ongoing retrospective devoted to Ruiz, among the great visionaries in film history and perhaps its most intrepid explorer of the unconscious.

Arguably Chile’s most internationally renowned and prolific filmmaker, Raúl Ruiz completed over one hundred films in numerous national cinemas. The mind-bending works that comprise Ruiz’s eclectic, influential oeuvre are labyrinthine, beguiling, and oneiric. They are obsessed with questions of theology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, and visual expression; wildly experimental and slyly humorous; surrealist, magical realist, gothic, and neo-Baroque.

His films are unified by his singular imagination, idiosyncratic working methods, and the dreamlike experience of watching them. To see one of Ruiz’s films is to go on an adventure full of humor, intellectual curiosity, and artistic daring; to see several of them is to land on a new continent, where his many obsessions find their delirious expression in the most surprising ways and where reason and madness are delightfully, terrifyingly indistinguishable.

The first part of the series showcases the range of Ruiz’s staggering career, from his feature debut in Chile (Three Sad Tigers) to selections from his highly inventive, limited-budget European films from the 1970s and ’80s following his home country’s coup d’etat (including The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting, The Territory, Three Crowns of the Sailor, and new restorations of Bérénice and The Suspended Vocation); the expanded scope and star-led casts of his celebrated ’90s work (Genealogies of a Crime, Three Lives and Only One Death, Time Regained); and highlights from his ever-prolific final decade, such as international success Mysteries of Lisbon and Peninsular War epic Lines of Wellington, directed by Ruiz’s frequent collaborator and wife Valeria Sarmiento from a script he had prepared before his death. 

To contextualize Ruiz’s films and influences, Life Is a Dream also features a sidebar of two titles from Ruiz’s list of favorite films to screen: Ousmane Sembene’s Black Girl and Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat. Part two of this landmark retrospective will be announced in the coming months.